Business Posts

Small Business Week Celebration Includes Speakers, Business Showcase, Pitch Competition Finals

For more than 50 years, National Small Business Week has recognized the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

This year, Small Business Week will be celebrated during the week of May 5-11. Events sponsored by the SBA and SCORE include a hackathon, the presentation of national awards, and a Twitter chat.

Locally, NaperLaunch will commemorate Small Business Week with a series of educational workshops intended for small business owners or managers. This year’s lineup includes:

  • Scott Palmer, former Shark Tank contestant and COO of Spikeball, Inc.
  • Cybersecurity expert Brian Berglund, CTO of Armarius Software
  • An interactive workshop on Instagram Marketing, presented by NPL’s Lindsay Harmon
  • Bob Koch, founder of e-commerce company Quiver Global, Inc.

The week concludes with the NaperLaunch Small Business Showcase and the finals of the 2nd Annual Business Plan and Pitch Competition, both on Saturday, May 11 at the Nichols Library.

At the Small Business Showcase, participating members of NaperLaunch will have the opportunity to share information about their businesses with members of the local community. NaperLaunch members may reserve a table to display information about their business during the Business Showcase.

During the Business Plan and Pitch Competition, three finalists selected from preliminary rounds will pitch their business plan publicly to be judged by a panel of experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors. The winning entrepreneur will receive a $3,300 prize.

For more information, visit the NaperLaunch website.

Posted: 
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 13:00

Marketing Your Small Business Using Library Resources

Marketing is just one of the many responsibilities that the average small business owner juggles every day. InfusionSoft’s 2017 Small Business Marketing Trends report found that almost half (49 percent) of small business owners reported handling the marketing for their business. What’s more, in 2018, most small businesses reported that their greatest challenge was finding the time and resources to handle marketing.

The library has a variety of free resources that can help small business owners with major sales and marketing tasks. Databases such as Reference USA, Mergent Intellect, and Demographics Now can be accessed in the library, as well as from home with your Naperville library card number and PIN. You can use them to:

  • Identify potential competitors in a sales territory
  • Generate a list of prospective customers
  • Research demographic data for a market territory
  • Research market share by industry
  • Find trade show and trade association information
  • Create sales call scripts for prospects in a selected industry
  • Conduct competitive analysis

To learn more about these resources and others, check out this month’s NaperLaunch Marketing Series morning meetup on Marketing Using Library Resources, presented by Business Librarian Kent Palmer. (This two-part series will also be offered as an evening workshop in September.)

Can’t make it to the meetup? You can always make an appointment with a Business Services Team member for a one-on-one introduction to selected library resources.

Posted: 
Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 09:45

Coworking Works for Entrepreneurs

A recent article on The Balance Small Business website describes four reasons coworking spaces can be ideal for entrepreneurs. All of these benefits—and more—are available to members of NaperLaunch, the business startup services center and coworking space located at the Nichols Library in downtown Naperville.

Coworking space is inexpensive.

NaperLaunch is even better than inexpensive—it’s free! There is no charge to use the coworking space, and you don’t need to have a library card or to make a reservation in advance. Just come in, grab a seat, and start working.

Coworking facilities are all-inclusive.

In addition to offering free wireless Internet, electrical outlets, and a quiet place to get projects done, our coworking space is also adjacent to a wide selection of office equipment and computers with Microsoft Office for public use. Our Tech Buffet includes office equipment such as printers, copier, and fax machine, as well as laptops, a 3D printer, and a green screen and studio photography tent. You can also consult with experienced and knowledgeable library staff and access a variety of business databases and other online resources, books, and newspapers and magazines.

Coworking offers collaboration and synergy.

Working from home can be isolating and often full of distractions that impede productivity. Our 26-seat space allows entrepreneurs and small business owners to take phone calls, talk with other coworkers, and plug in laptops or other electronic devices. We’re open 12 hours every weekday and Sunday, plus 8 hours on Saturday to accommodate a variety of schedules and preferences. If you prefer working al fresco during the warmer months, we even have outdoor seating on the south side of the library.

Our location in the heart of downtown Naperville is also just steps away from restaurants, shopping, the 1.75-mile Riverwalk along the west branch of the DuPage River, and—coming soon—the tech-friendly Naperville Jaycees “smart park.”

Coworking spaces are ideal environments for networking with other entrepreneurs.

NaperLaunch is more than a coworking space—it’s also a community. Users can meet other innovators and entrepreneurs and share ideas, get help developing a business concept, and receive guidance with one-on-one mentoring or via roundtable discussions. We also offer regular workshops, meetups and classes on business basics like marketing and branding.

In addition, our 15-week NaperLaunch Academy offers a focused curriculum to help entrepreneurs develop fundamental business knowledge, improve salesmanship and leadership skills and learn the “lean startup process.”

For more information about NaperLaunch, visit our website or stop by the Nichols Library.

Posted: 
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 15:45